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Ox: Not being in England team was “kick up the backside”

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain talks about motivation.

England Training Session and Press Conference
He’s back with England!
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been a fixture in the England setup since he was 18, largely because his name is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, which couldn’t be more English if it were pronounced “bowler hat”. I mean, seriously, with a name like that he has to be involved with the national team, right?

Well, he thought so too - which is probably what led him to be just complacent enough to have Sam “one and done” Allardyce omit him from the last England squad. Fortunately, Ox took that omission as a challenge, not as an insult:

“It provided a kick up the backside,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said. “I have been playing for England since I was 18 and, while I wouldn’t say I took it all for granted, it just seemed to be a part of my season – to play for Arsenal and to play for England. It was a jolt.”

He’s taken that jolt and redoubled his efforts - efforts that started with having a discussion with Arsene Wenger, who said:

“It’s difficult to find anything that he hasn’t got,” Arsenal’s manager said. “But maybe he doesn’t completely believe in himself as to how good he can be.”

His work is paying off, as he was named in Gareth Southgate’s first England squad. And hopefully he believes he can be as good as we all believe he can - and that he can stay healthy enough to prove that to everyone, not just for England but for Arsenal as well.